The Gift of Time

A colleague and I sat in a room with no outside light, affectionately known as the fishbowl, for several days this summer. While this may sound like torture akin to the rubber room, it was actually quite a gift.

Because we had the gift of time to plan, we had the freedom to spend 30 minutes or an hour chasing an idea down a rabbit hole. Some of those explorations resulted in fantastic plans, while others were abandoned because we realized they were too complicated or didn’t accomplish what we’d hoped. This time was made possible by a grant from our school to revise, update, and expand the resources which make up the World Cultures East Asia unit. (If you’re interested, here’s are some of the resources we created/updated.)

Image by LeoReynolds
Image by LeoReynolds

I find that the teaching life rarely offers this kind of time. School starts on Wednesday and time feels nothing like a gift right now. More like a wild beast in hot pursuit.

In Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity, David Whyte quotes a poem by Ranier Maria Rilke containing the lines:

My life is not this steeply sloping hour
in which you see me hurrying….

I am the rest between the notes,
which are somehow always in discord
because Death’s notes want to climb over-
but in the dark interval, reconciled,
they stay there trembling,

And the song goes on, beautiful.

I love that image of being almost over swept by busyness, by Death, but those notes being reconciled in the silence. Here’s to the interval and the song.


3 thoughts on “The Gift of Time

  1. Beautiful. Time truly is the greatest gift one can have for teaching. It is the thing I miss the most – that ability to chase ideas “down rabbit holes” and bounce ideas back and forth. Sometimes I find colleagues willing to take that (unpaid) time with me…sometimes not.

    I’m so glad you got to experience some luxury.

    Have a great start to school!

  2. Have you looked at Randy Bomer’s _Time for Meaning: Crafting Literate Lives in Middle & High School_ ? He intersperses his chapters about teaching strategies with reflections on time & teaching. You might like it.

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